You don’t get the moniker “The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” without having a few classic records to your name and Mary J. Blige’s catalog is one of the greatest in the history of The Culture. She simply has too many to even list so choosing one for this edition of #CultureClassics was an extremely difficult task. But we did it and we choose her most successful single of all-time, Be Without You”.
“Be Without You” was the lead single off MJB’s seventh album The Breakthrough which solidified the shift to “Happy Marry”. The song was released in early 2006 and immediately took over ranking among the most played songs on the radio for the year. The positive, love affirming lyrics plus R&B star producer Bryan Michael Cox’s perfect production and of course Mary’s amazing vocals made the single undeniable.
The song became Mary J. Blige’s most successful song to date peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Charts as it broke records and became the most successful release in the history of -that particular chart. It spent a record 15 consecutive weeks at number one ( a record she held until 2013) and also broke the record for the longest-running single in the existence of the chart spending a total of 75 weeks on that chart. Oh and it also went double platinum.
The critics loved it too as the song was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year and won the Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance categories at the Grammys in 2007. The video is also a classic as it stars Oscar nominee and Empire star Terrance Howard and has nearly 140 million views. Both the song and the video are odes to black love and the appreciation of a strong, supportive partner and for that, and all of it’s success, “Be Without You” is a true #CultureClassic.
Check out more of our musical content:
- #MusicMondays – Lizzo
- Interview – Hip-Hop Weekly Editor-In-Chief Kim SoMajor
- #CultureClassics – “Daer Mama” by 2Pac
Written by @TalentedMrFord